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Task Force Endorses Tax Hikes To Fund State's Roads And Bridges
Updated December 20, 2016 8:07 AM | Filed under: Transportation
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - At the beginning of the new year, the General Assembly will begin considering whether to approve a variety of vehicle-related tax hikes to fund Indiana's roads and bridges over the next 20 years.

On Monday, the Funding Indiana's Roads for a Stronger Safer Tomorrow, or, FIRSST, Task Force voted 10-1 to recommend to lawmakers 12 revenue increasing options aimed at raising the estimated $1 billion in new money needed annually to maintain and improve the state's transportation infrastructure.

The suggestions include boosting the state's gasoline tax by 8 to 10 cents per gallon to restore buying power lost to inflation, since it last was increased in 2003, and automatically adjusting the tax to keep up with ongoing changes in the value of money.

Taxes on truck fuels, including diesel, biodiesel and natural gas, also should be adjusted for inflation since their last increases in 1988 and indexed in the future, the task force said.

It also recommended charging extra fees on electric and other vehicles that use little to no gasoline, increasing the state's annual vehicle registration charge, hiking the tire disposal fee, eventually dedicating all revenue from the 7 percent sales tax on gasoline to roads and improving the collection of overweight truck penalties.

In addition, the task force urged the Legislature to work with the federal government to authorize tolling on state highways and interstates to pay for added capacity and rehabilitation of existing lanes and bridges.

State officials say most Indiana motorists currently pay about $19 a month in various taxes to access the statewide road network, compared to much higher amounts to use their telephones, cable TV and the internet.

House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, declared the road funding plan will be the top priority for the 70 Republicans in the 100-member chamber.

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